Employment & Age Top Factors in Cell-Phone, PDA Use

Employment & Age Top Factors in Cell-Phone, PDA Use

Nearly nine in 10 (87%) US Americans report that they own a cell phone, and 16% say they own a personal digital assistant (PDA) such as a Blackberry, Palm or iPhone, according to a recent Marist Poll conducted by the Marist Institute for Public Opinion.

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However, cell phone – and especially PDA – ownership is higher among youth and also rises dramatically among those with jobs. A full 92% of employed Americans own a cell phone, while nearly one-fourth own a PDA.  Overall, those who are employed are more likely to carry a PDA than their unemployed counterparts, regardless of income, the survey found.

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As further testament to the growing importance of cell phones and wireless devices to Americans, a study last year by Knowledge Networks found that 60% of mobile users in the US carry their cellular devices at all times.

Age Plays Big Role

Not surprisingly, the research confirmed that age is a determining factor in cell-phone and PDA ownership: Some 94% of Americans under age 45 have cell phones, whereas slightly more than eight in 10 Americans 45 or older tote the devices.

By more than two-to-one margin, younger Americans also are more likely to own a PDA, the poll found. More than one-fourth (26%) of those younger than age 45 own a PDA, compared with just 10% of those ages 45+. Once again, people with jobs in both of these age groups are more likely than the unemployed to have a PDA.

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Finances Affect Wireless Device Ownership

Family finances also affect cell-phone and PDA ownership. Some 95% of Americans who report an annual household income of $50K or more own a cell phone vs. 82% of households taking in less than $50K a year.

With regard to PDAs, Americans who earn $50K or more annually are nearly eight times more likely to have purchased a PDA than those who earn less.

Additional PDA ownership findings:

  • The proportion of employed residents who make less than $50K a year and who have a PDA is double the proportion of residents within this income bracket who are unemployed.
  • Employed residents who make between $50K annually and $99,999 are three times as likely as unemployed Americans within this income bracket to carry a PDA.
  • Half of those who make $100K or more annually and who have a job carry a PDA, compared with only 35% of those who make a similar amount and do not have a job.

Research commissioned by the New Millennium Research council (NMRC) also points to a direct link between income and cell phone features.  A study revealed that about two-fifths (40%) of Americans – or 60.3 million consumers – with contract-based cell-phone service would likely cut back on their cell-phone expenses to save money in the worsening economy.

South and Northeast Have Highest Cell Phone Penetration

Regionally, those who live in the Northeast and South regions of the US report the highest cell-phone ownership. Nearly nine in 10 (89%) of residents in these areas report owning a cell phone, while 82% of those in the Midwest and 85% of those in the West have them.

About the survey: This telephone survey of 1,128 US residents ages 18+ was conducted March 9 -11, 2009. Telephone numbers were selected based upon a list of telephone exchanges from throughout the nation. The exchanges were selected to ensure that each region was represented in proportion to its population.

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